Custom Collaborative
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About

Custom collaborative...

is a New York City-based entrepreneurship and workforce development program that trains and supports low-income women, especially immigrant women, to launch viable apparel careers and businesses. By learning the standard techniques and ethical business practices of the garment industry, our clients professionalize their sewing and design skills, overcome barriers to employment, and ultimately, change the economics of the apparel industry.

What We Do

CC teaches women to create and sell high-quality and sustainably sourced made- to-measure garments, enabling them to support themselves and to meet other women’s need for clothing that actually fits their bodies. CC customers will find a valuable alternative to the “fast fashion” that exploits people and the environment, while trainees and graduates receive support for their development and entrepreneurial endeavors.

 
 
 
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SERVICES

 

TRAINING

Custom Collaborative's comprehensive paid training program covers 14 primary subjects in the art, craft, technique, and business of clothing. Annually, 30 students will graduate equipped with marketable and key business planning skills. We are creating a network of skilled professionals and cultivating a customer base to extend Custom Collaborative's social and economic impact.

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Incubator space

Custom Collaborative will offer management consulting, mentorship, technical assistance, advanced training, and professional equipment to participants who have completed the training program and to others in the garment industry. Our goal is to maximize the opportunity to create jobs and strengthen local economies.

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worker owned cooperative

A worker-owned sewn-goods cooperative comprised of Custom Collaborative graduates is scheduled to launch in 2018. 

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TEAM 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Deborah Chay, PhD Deborah is a management consultant focused on the intersections of philanthropy and other forms of mission-oriented capital. She assists individuals and organizations develop and deploy their cultural and philanthropic capital for greater total impact. Deborah has special expertise in race and gender issues, along with extensive practical experience creating platforms and pathways for donors, investors, and advocates to achieve shared social purpose objectives together. Deborah has launched and directed program initiatives at Duke University and Japan Society among others.

Deborah Chay, PhD

Deborah is a management consultant focused on the intersections of philanthropy and other forms of mission-oriented capital. She assists individuals and organizations develop and deploy their cultural and philanthropic capital for greater total impact. Deborah has special expertise in race and gender issues, along with extensive practical experience creating platforms and pathways for donors, investors, and advocates to achieve shared social purpose objectives together. Deborah has launched and directed program initiatives at Duke University and Japan Society among others.

Michele Long, MS Michele is the Director of Corporate Communications at Triumph Group. Her professional expertise includes communications and marketing, employee engagement, and global transformation and change management initiatives,Michele is a native New Yorker living in Philadelphia with her husband and their two daughters.

Michele Long, MS

Michele is the Director of Corporate Communications at Triumph Group. Her professional expertise includes communications and marketing, employee engagement, and global transformation and change management initiatives,Michele is a native New Yorker living in Philadelphia with her husband and their two daughters.

Ngozi Okaro, JD Ngozi Okaro,  a management consultant to the social sector, is as an advocate for socioeconomic justice.  Tall since birth, she understands the challenges facing women who love nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template—which represents the  majority of US clothing buyers.  Ngozi aims to serve two constituencies, meeting both the need of fashion-industry workers for fair compensation and the demand of thoughtful consumers for quality clothes at a fair price.  

Ngozi Okaro, JD

Ngozi Okaro,  a management consultant to the social sector, is as an advocate for socioeconomic justice.  Tall since birth, she understands the challenges facing women who love nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template—which represents the  majority of US clothing buyers.  Ngozi aims to serve two constituencies, meeting both the need of fashion-industry workers for fair compensation and the demand of thoughtful consumers for quality clothes at a fair price.

 

Melody Rollins, MBA, CFA, CAIA Melody Rollins, CFA, CAIA, is a Partner and Head of Client Service and Business Development at Brightwood Capital Advisors, LLC and also serves on Brightwood’s Executive Committee. . Outside of work, Ms. Rollins is very active in the community, focusing on organizations and programs that are eliminating disparities in access to educational, legal and health resources in underserved communities.

Melody Rollins, MBA, CFA, CAIA

Melody Rollins, CFA, CAIA, is a Partner and Head of Client Service and Business Development at Brightwood Capital Advisors, LLC and also serves on Brightwood’s Executive Committee. . Outside of work, Ms. Rollins is very active in the community, focusing on organizations and programs that are eliminating disparities in access to educational, legal and health resources in underserved communities.

advisors

Ifey Anoliefo, JD Ifey Anoliefo is a licensed attorney with 10 years of experience advising businesses, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and nonprofits on marketing, business development, growth initiatives, and client services. Ifey is experienced in helping organizations, from start-ups to large corporations, navigate and overcome operational, legal, and financial challenges. She is a long-suffering Cleveland sports fan with a strong passion for fashion and international cuisine.

Ifey Anoliefo, JD

Ifey Anoliefo is a licensed attorney with 10 years of experience advising businesses, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and nonprofits on marketing, business development, growth initiatives, and client services. Ifey is experienced in helping organizations, from start-ups to large corporations, navigate and overcome operational, legal, and financial challenges. She is a long-suffering Cleveland sports fan with a strong passion for fashion and international cuisine.

Heidi Bruce, MBA Heidi is a veteran fundraiser credentialed by Indiana University School of Philanthropy. She has published several articles, many of which have been walked on by her cat Lily.

Heidi Bruce, MBA

Heidi is a veteran fundraiser credentialed by Indiana University School of Philanthropy. She has published several articles, many of which have been walked on by her cat Lily.

Cathy S. Gilliard, D.Min Cathy is Senior Minister at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in New York. Her extensive professional expertise includes community building, advocacy for vulnerable women, and leading mission based organizations. She has degrees from North Carolina A&T State University, Rutgers State University, Duke Divinity School, and United Theological Seminary.  

Cathy S. Gilliard, D.Min

Cathy is Senior Minister at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in New York. Her extensive professional expertise includes community building, advocacy for vulnerable women, and leading mission based organizations. She has degrees from North Carolina A&T State University, Rutgers State University, Duke Divinity School, and United Theological Seminary.

 

Makeba Morgan Hill, EdD Makeba Morgan Hill serves as deputy to the president and chief planner for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  In this role, Ms. Hill oversees the Foundation's multiple planning efforts. Makeba worked for more than a decade in strategic planning roles at Emory Healthcare and Emory University.  Her academic background includes strategic planning and marketing, and higher education management.    

Makeba Morgan Hill, EdD

Makeba Morgan Hill serves as deputy to the president and chief planner for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  In this role, Ms. Hill oversees the Foundation's multiple planning efforts. Makeba worked for more than a decade in strategic planning roles at Emory Healthcare and Emory University.  Her academic background includes strategic planning and marketing, and higher education management.

 

 

Amini Kajunu, MPA Amini is Director of Strategic Partnerships at Africa Integras.  She has served as the President and CEO of the Africa-America Institute (AAI), and as Executive Director of Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), which trains under-resourced entrepreneurs in New York and other cities.

Amini Kajunu, MPA

Amini is Director of Strategic Partnerships at Africa Integras.  She has served as the President and CEO of the Africa-America Institute (AAI), and as Executive Director of Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), which trains under-resourced entrepreneurs in New York and other cities.

Patience Oti, PhD Patience is the senior Pastor of New Jersey Tabernacle and Shekina House of Worship in New York, and President of Shekina Charities. She also works as the Assistant Vice President of WIN. A Nigerian native, Patience started a school of design and hospitality there. Here academic training is in vocational education and guidance and counseling.

Patience Oti, PhD

Patience is the senior Pastor of New Jersey Tabernacle and Shekina House of Worship in New York, and President of Shekina Charities. She also works as the Assistant Vice President of WIN. A Nigerian native, Patience started a school of design and hospitality there. Here academic training is in vocational education and guidance and counseling.

 
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TEAM

ADVISORS

Michelle Pryce-Screen, MS. Ed., MSW For more than 20 years Michelle has led programs and people in the social service sectors, including housing, employment, and education for women and their families. Michelle led Project Enterprise’s Entrepreneur Assistance Program, developing small businesses in under-resourced communities, and currently manages Hope Community’s Social Service Programs in East Harlem.

Michelle Pryce-Screen, MS. Ed., MSW

For more than 20 years Michelle has led programs and people in the social service sectors, including housing, employment, and education for women and their families. Michelle led Project Enterprise’s Entrepreneur Assistance Program, developing small businesses in under-resourced communities, and currently manages Hope Community’s Social Service Programs in East Harlem.

Andrea Rogers, MPIA Andrea J. Rogers is a dedicated nonprofit and philanthropy professional with more than 15 years of experience working with American and international anti-poverty organizations. She specializes in overall program management, grant-making and organizational development. Andrea is dedicated to social justice and working with leaders and communities to bring about social and economic equity.

Andrea Rogers, MPIA

Andrea J. Rogers is a dedicated nonprofit and philanthropy professional with more than 15 years of experience working with American and international anti-poverty organizations. She specializes in overall program management, grant-making and organizational development. Andrea is dedicated to social justice and working with leaders and communities to bring about social and economic equity.

Vanna Sin Vanna is Director of Donor Engagement Fundraising at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where she leads individual and event-based fundraising campaigns. Originally from a Massachusetts, and a product of a Cambodian refugee household, Vanna happily calls New York City her home.  

Vanna Sin

Vanna is Director of Donor Engagement Fundraising at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where she leads individual and event-based fundraising campaigns. Originally from a Massachusetts, and a product of a Cambodian refugee household, Vanna happily calls New York City her home.

 

Staff Members

Ruth Conner Veteran promotional writer Ruth Conner has served more than 100 organizations—from Fortune 50s to nonprofit start-ups—while helping others learn to write competently as a community college adjunct professor of English Composition.  Today Ruth is privileged to deploy her skills in the cause of expanding economic and social opportunity through her support of Custom Collaborative’s communications initiatives.

Ruth Conner

Veteran promotional writer Ruth Conner has served more than 100 organizations—from Fortune 50s to nonprofit start-ups—while helping others learn to write competently as a community college adjunct professor of English Composition.  Today Ruth is privileged to deploy her skills in the cause of expanding economic and social opportunity through her support of Custom Collaborative’s communications initiatives.

Michele Linton Michele is Custom Collaborative's data expert. She creates and implements our database and measurement systems to help drive peak performance. Her background includes customer and media relations, event planning, and analysis.

Michele Linton

Michele is Custom Collaborative's data expert. She creates and implements our database and measurement systems to help drive peak performance. Her background includes customer and media relations, event planning, and analysis.

Michael Ben Pinpin Ben is Custom Collaborative's Lead Instructor.  He is a designer who loves to teach his craft. Ben was the architect and founding Creative Director of Mood Fabrics "Mood U School". Ben graduated from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.  

Michael Ben Pinpin

Ben is Custom Collaborative's Lead Instructor.  He is a designer who loves to teach his craft. Ben was the architect and founding Creative Director of Mood Fabrics "Mood U School". Ben graduated from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

 

 
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Support us

Support for Custom Collaborative creates work and businesses for low-income women in garment manufacturing. Your generous gift helps our participants professionalize and learn, get hands-on work experience, and start new careers as artisans and entrepreneurs.

WHAT YOUR gift SUPPORTS

$3,000: Supplies and curricular materials for one training cohort of 10 students.

$1,000: Plus size professional dress form.

$500: Fabric supplies for one training cohort of 10 students.

$100: Muslin fabric for three dress projects.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT US

 

In-kind donations

  • Donate dress forms, fabric and sewing machines.
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Volunteer

  • Volunteer as a model for students (women of all sizes and shapes are needed).
  • Volunteer as a classroom assistant.
  • Volunteer as a guest speaker.
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Partner with us

  • Introduce us to donors and investors.
  • Refer potential students to our program.
  • Talk to us about contract manufacturing. 
  • Talk to us about hiring graduates.
 
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THANK YOU

We are grateful for the support of our partners and donors who are dedicated to helping low-income women obtain education and networks so they can access good paying careers. We extend special thanks to The Riverside Church.

Corporations

Alder, New York

Lafayette 148 New York

Wesley, Brown & Bartle

Foundations

Cottonwood Foundation

Darma Fund

Eileen Fisher Foundation

Hyde and Watson Foundation

New York Women's Foundation

Individuals

Chinonso Akano, Rhonda Allen, Ifeyinwa Anoliefo, Anonymous, Ava Bynum, Susan Bynum, Deborah Chay, Ruth Conner, Dennis Derryck, Angelique Dorsey, Melody Rollins Downes, Reverend Cathy S. Gilliard, Victoria Grant, Dr. Adam Hill, Kerry James, David Jones, Christina Lem, Michele Long, Marsha Modeste, Carol Baldwin Moody, James Okaro, Ngozi Okaro, Nnabike Okaro, Eric Palmer, Christine Pomeranz, Michelle Pryce-Screen, Andrea Rogers, Denise Slater, Ramona Sunderwirth, Juliana Rowe, Solade Rowe, Laurel Schaffer, Willa Shalit, Vivian Taylor, Carl Webb, Susan York

Contact Us

81 Claremont Avenue, New York, NY 10027

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